|Liz Crowe, Author|
Monday, April 29, 2013
Why Not Real Romance? By Liz Crowe
The Alpha Hero as envisioned by the typical reader is fairly predictable, and is expected to Be a Certain Way by many. He is tall, typically a brunette for some reason, broad shouldered, well-toned, powerful, wealthy beyond reason or explanation, and likely wounded in his soul and seeking a lovely lady to heal him. I’ve spent some time writing these dudes myself but my guys tend to bring a touch of realism to the equation—one that does not always sit well with traditional romance readers or reviewers.
So, I’m officially calling my style of fiction: Romance. For Real Life. I bring the hot ‘n powerful guys, yes, but I also bring the real life tests of mettle, the hard choices, the mistakes and “the morning after” that must be dealt with. It is my argument that 90% of the books out there today, be they “young adult,” (or the sneakily named “New Adult” which is a lot of hot romance with a lot of much younger heroes and heroines—also billionaires too a lot of them, but whatever), “chick lit,” “crime and mystery,” “paranormal or sci fi,” or even dare I say “mainstream fiction,” has an element of romance in it. That core story—the oldest one ever—of the attraction between men and women never gets old. Just ask Harlequin.
However, I meld styles, with contemporary, mainstream story elements like challenging family dynamics, tough typical (and not so typical) teenage experiences, hard work environments and small business struggles, personal inner demons and external real life pressures--along with that central, juicy, (dare I use the word) romance. I prefer to read this more complex sort of story, so that is what I write.
This is in no way to disrespect the efforts of any author worth reading in any genre.
On the contrary, it’s an homage to all the varying styles I have personally read (and I’ve read a lot of them), this blending that I do. The familiar jargon “
HEA” (Happily Ever After) demanded by the millions of
truly fabulous hard core romance readers out there I just turn a little further
on its natural axis, reaching for the “WHA” (the What Happens After). I like to know how the couple really gets on
after the hot hookup turns into a heartfelt relationship (if that happens—no
guarantee in my books. Just saying).
If you are a fan of the predictable
HEA you may find it in my books, but I guarantee my
characters are going to work very hard to find it. And will treat it for what
it is: “Happily For Now” with promises to work hard as that is what real
* * *
Mutual Release is a coming of age novel about trust...on the long road to love.
Disclaimer: This is an 18+ book with erotic BDSM scenes and explicit language.
Can two dark souls ever make a light?
As president of her own distribution company, Julie Dawson has all she ever wanted -- money, power, and respect. But her carefully crafted façade conceals a torment of abuse and helplessness. After years remaining emotionally aloof, she is finally independent, but alone. Because she refuses to rely on anyone but herself ever again.
Evan Adams is no stranger to success, or personal demons. The horrific trauma that destroyed his twin sister, and tore his family apart, forced him to craft a new life from the ashes of the old. He's content enough, focusing ahead and not dwelling on his murky past. But something important is missing. He knows what that thing is but refuses to acknowledge it.
When a chance encounter brings these two strong-willed but damaged people together, what seems like a long, erotic journey through hell could lead them to a match made in heaven.
Monday dawned bright, clear, and cold, even for an October morning. Evan ran his usual route around the west side of his newly adopted town, relishing how strong he felt and looking forward to his workday – the one where he had a tight grip on his own destiny for a change. After a long hot shower, two huge cups of coffee, and an apple, he grabbed his presentation thumb drive and laptop and headed out.
One of the things he’d inherited from his father was a love of classic English cars. He had sold two of the three Jags, kept his favorite and bought an MG Spyder, not giving a shit at how much it cost to keep the damn thing running properly. As he sped in his sports car across Interstate 96 on his way to the far-flung
Northern Detroit suburbs to sweet talk,
finagle, and wow the big-time distributor, he was on top of his own personal
mountain. Nothing would spoil the day. He refused to allow it.
He pulled into a visitor’s parking spot, tucked his Ray-Bans over the visor, and smoothed his hair before jumping out and striding to the glass front doors. “
” was etched in the glass,
nothing more or less, as if it were a boutique law firm or ad agency. Nothing
out front indicated that it was one of the most successful craft beer and
domestic wine distribution companies in the Dawson Midwest.
Tucking away a shiver of intimidation, he pushed the door open and saw a small shrine to
craft beer. The front
receiving area was full of faux six packs, cases, kegs, and displays
representing every brand, including some that were nationally known. A single
desk sat near another set of doors. Through its clear glass he could see a
bustling group of people, men and women, all dressed in top-notch suits,
getting ready to go out on their sales day. The place oozed professionalism,
even a bit of snootiness that surprised him. Michigan
But he shook it off, walked up to the stunningly attractive blond woman at the front desk. She sat frowning at a large computer screen. He stood for a few seconds, thinking she would acknowledge him. Finally he had to clear his throat to make her look away from whatever had her mesmerized.
“Oh, hello. Sorry about that.” Her smile made her already gorgeous face light up and left him slightly breathless. Looking back, he figured he must have looked like a complete ass as he stood there, unable to form coherent words, his brain awash in sensations he had not allowed himself to experience in a damn long time. She arched one perfect eyebrow. He gulped, knowing he should say something.
“Uh, so, I have an appointment?” He winced at the upturning of his sentence as if he were asking her a question. Clearing his throat, he started over, pasted on his best “Evan Adams, Charmer” smile and held out a hand. “Evan Adams, owner of Big House Brewing in Ann Arbor, here to see Mr. Dawson. I’m a little early.”
She tilted her head, then shook his hand matter-of-factly. But he had to stop himself from stumbling backwards at the thoughts coiling up in his lizard brain at her touch. His mouth dried out and an odd yet familiar roaring sound fired up between his ears. She frowned. “You okay, there, Evan?” Her lips caressed his name, making him repress a shiver.
“Yeah, sorry. So, anyway, I’ll just sit… over here… until Mr.
is ready. You know, since
I’m, uh, early.” He winced, marveling at the depth of his dorkiness. She put
her elbows on the desk, eyeing him closely. He observed that she seemed a
little overdressed for a receptionist but figured this place must have a strict
dress code. Dawson
“Sit here,” she said, patting the seat nearest her desk. “Keep me company for a while.”
“Um, sure,” he said, flushing red to the tips of his ears, then moving closer to her while trying to look cool, casual, not ready to jump up and escape.
She smiled. “So, tell me about your company. You know, while we wait for Mr. Dawson.”
He relaxed and launched into the tale, thankful to have a reason to talk and not sound like the world’s oldest high school geek trying to flirt with the prom queen. She asked a lot of questions, kept him talking. And after about a half hour, he was laughing with her at his tale of trying to empty a brewing vessel full of wet grains and dumping about ten pounds of the stuff all over himself.
At one point she brushed her hair back, and his breath caught in his throat at the glimpse of her long neck and the small indent between her collarbones. He had no idea what that was, that soft spot that seemed to pulse with her heartbeat. But he wanted to put his tongue there very, very badly. Allowing his eyes to flicker over her profile, the striking angles of her face, he gulped, looked away.
Getting a grip, he pulled a business card from his portfolio and handed it to her. “I’d love to talk with you more,” he said, trying to ease his voice down from its high-pitched nervous whine to a sexier, more natural tone. “But since I don’t even know your name…” He looked at the nameplate on the desk. It was blank.
She leaned back, propped her high heels on the desk in a strange move that had him instantly on edge and practically panting with horniness.
“Uh, so,” he glanced at his watch, his nerves dancing up and down his spine once more, “if you are interested, maybe we could, you know, go out. Have a beer? Keep chatting?” He closed his eyes, unable to bear his own flop sweat another minute. “Never mind.” He slumped back in his seat. Where the "Master Dom" Evan Adams had hidden he did not know, but damned if the guy was staying there and leaving this ridiculous, stuttering loser in his place.
The silence spun out about a minute longer than was truly polite. He finally looked up at her. She was staring at him over the tops of her shoes, her head tilted to the side as if wondering why the hell he was even cluttering up her space. Finally, the doors to his left opened and a tall, good-looking guy in a suit stood there, surprise clear on his face. “Julie,” he said. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Your appointment isn’t here yet but…”
The woman held up a hand, silencing the man but keeping her eyes pinned on Evan’s. His heart sped up and that familiar, yet nearly forgotten, roaring sound started up in his ears once more.
Julie Dawson. J. Dawson. The person he’d been communicating with through his… or her… secretary.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
He stood, furious that she’d sat there and let him babble on like a bloody idiot for nearly forty-five minutes. “Well, that was fun,” he said, staring her down, or attempting to. But his skin was both on fire and cold at once. Something about the woman made him have to hang on to his laptop case tight, just to keep from stepping close and kissing those full red lips so hard she would be his in an instant. “Or not. Thanks for your time.”
“No, no, don’t go,” she said, getting to her feet in one fluid, sexy move. She was over six feet tall in her shoes, curvy, womanly, and sending out the sort of signals he had not intercepted in a long time – too long, if the way he was overreacting was any indication. “Really, I want to know why you think my company would be in any way interested in yours.”
He processed her barb, clenched his jaw, and poured out the reasons behind why
would benefit from jumping
on his bandwagon now, in the early days, so they could grow the brand in a key
market together. She listened, standing behind the stupid receptionist’s desk,
her assistant wildly typing notes on his tablet. Dawson
Finally, she held up a hand again. “How very… creative.” She walked around to the front of the desk, giving him an eye-popping full view of her. She was like sex on two perfect female legs, the exact body type he craved – full breasts and hips, cinched in but not obnoxiously small waist, long hair, and legs that went on and on… and on. “And, um, Evan?”
He jumped back, hearing his name again.
“Yeah, my eyes are up here. But never mind. I’m used to being ogled, and by way more successful brewery owners than you.” She held his business card between thumb and forefinger, as if it were made of dog shit. “Tell you what, why don’t you let me ponder your… proposal. And assume that your eye-fucking session won’t happen again.”
She turned from him and walked away without a word. Her assistant shrugged and followed her back in, leaving Evan breathless, furious, and never more aware of his neglected libido.
* * *
Liz will award the following prizes at the end of the Virtual Book Tour and the Book Blast:
Grand Prize: Paperwhite Kindle
1st Prize: Signed set of first 6 books (Includes all books in the series *except for* Mutual Release)
2nd Prize: boxed set of first 3 Stewart Realty ebooks (Floor Time, Sweat Equity, Closing Costs)
3rd Prize: Zazzle store Stewart swag pack (including canvas tote bag, mug, t-shirt, keychain)
About The Author
Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great
Midwest, in a
major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an
eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world
of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance
When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “
more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)
Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.
Monday, April 22, 2013
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Monday, April 15, 2013
When you invest time, energy, and money into preparing for your first date, you want to make the best impression. Non-verbal and vocal communication say more about you than you might imagine and can either make or break your chances of getting a second date. Remember first impressions are long lasting.
Following are four simple points to consider when you are going on that first date. Think of it as going on an important job interview.
If you are going to pick up a date or meet that person at a specific location, be on time. Punctuality is a sign of respect. There is never any excuse for being fashionably late. Of course, there are exceptions such as an unexpected occurrence that is out of your control.
Your apparel should look presentable. If you are taking your date to a fancy restaurant for dinner, you do not want to show up in a tee shirt with the message, “Eat Me,” and wearing worn to shreds jeans.
Your posture is very important. Approach your date as though you are interested in that individual.
Make direct eye contact when talking to your date. Keep in mind that the eyes are the windows to the world.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Recently, Valentine’s Day rolled around once more. Is Valentine’s Day about love and loving someone? Of course and nobody loves Valentine’s Day more than the diamond industry, chocolatiers, the sugar industry, wine companies, card companies, flower growers, lingerie shops, restauranteurs, and of course you.
Let’s face it, everybody benefits from that special day, but some more than others.
Your funny, sweet, comic Valentine was with you 365 days before this day came around again. But, there were days when romance was lacking, and you didn’t feel so special.
After the 2012 Valentine’s Day glow was over, life went on. In that year, there were days when you disliked your valentine and their bad habits. Maybe they didn’t pick up after themselves; their sweaty socks and undies lay on the floor for you to collect. Maybe they snored. Maybe their loud chewing annoyed you. Maybe they are too frank, abrasive, and tactless. Maybe they act as if life revolves around him/her. Maybe they are cheaters, liars and manipulators. Maybe they are too hard to please.
There are so many variables when it comes to someone’s valentine. Yet even the ones with negative behaviors are loved. But are they worthy of your love?
There are more enduring, indelible qualities that made you fall in love with your valentine. I hope it was emotional intimacy—a rich, strong, intense relationship. A relationship where you were open, with the lid removed, said anything, and expressed everything, and it was accepted and understood. A relationship full-flavored with unconditional love, one worthy of survival. Some of the above bad habits can be dealt with and overcome, others cannot unless your mate is willing to make drastic changes.
If your valentine thinks life revolves around him/her, don’t entertain illusions of give and take in your relationship. It won’t happen.
The hard to please can be as charming as a banana peel. Life can be stressful enough. You have to decide if this will be your valentine forever.
As for the cheaters, liars, and manipulators, I suggest you give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they’d be.
This Valentine’s Day is special, your day, a time to express your feelings to your sweetheart. To show love and gratitude for that special one who is worthy of your love, on February 14 and every day of the year.
I hope you gave yourself the best Valentine’s Day gift ever this year: loving yourself first.
* * *
Bio: Urenna Sander is the author of “True Season of Love,” a love story with many surprises concerning the characters, Olivia and Ptolemy.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
|Eliza Daly, Author|
Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade scriptwriter to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.
When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy.
When Olivia Doyle’s father dies under suspicious circumstances, rather than inheriting a family fortune, she inherits a new identity. She learns they were placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program when she was five years old. Her father was involved in an art forgery ring and testified against the mob. Brought up not to trust anyone, Olivia has a difficult time relying on U.S. Marshal Ethan Ryder to protect her, and to keep her secret. She fears her father may have continued his life of crime through her art gallery. She has little choice but to depend on Ethan when she realizes someone is now after her. Olivia’s search for the truth leads her and Ethan across country to a family and past she doesn’t remember.
At the age of ten, Ethan witnessed a brutal murder. He vowed when he grew up, he’d protect people in danger. Protecting Olivia is difficult when she won’t trust him. He soon realizes his desire to protect her goes beyond doing his job, but if his judgment becomes clouded by emotions, her safety could be jeopardized.
Can Ethan and Olivia learn to trust each other when they uncover secrets that will change their lives forever?
* * *
The footsteps drew closer. Her breathing quickened. The intruder paused outside the door and she held her breath, a death grip on the pepper spray. The barrel of a gun appeared through the doorway, followed by a man. In that split second, she blasted him with a steady stream.
“Shit!” he yelled, snapping his head away from the line of fire.
Unsure if she’d made a direct hit, she flew past him, still spraying the air behind her. Although it wasn’t a blanket mist, she couldn’t help but inhale some of the toxic vapors in the air. Her eyes burned slightly and she coughed, racing down the hallway and across the open foyer.
She was almost to the door when the guy yelled out in a raspy voice, “Touch that door handle and I’ll shoot it off.”
She came to a screeching halt, unsure if he planned on aiming for the handle or her hand. The blood pulsating in her ears muffled the roar of the lawn mower as it passed by near a window. Nobody would hear her scream. She eyed the security alarm keypad on the wall by the door. Two quick steps and she could hit the panic button. Two quick steps and she might get shot. She slowly turned around, her gaze locking on the gun pointed at her from the opposite side of the foyer. Sheer panic pressed against her chest, and she sucked in a deep breath.
The guy cleared his throat. “I’m not gonna hurt you.” He cautiously lowered the gun, but didn’t holster it. “Unless you spray that crap again.” He blinked rapidly and ran a hand up over the top of his head, sweeping back a clump of wet hair. Her aim had obviously been off. It was impossible to spray straight when her body was shaking uncontrollably.
The guy’s dark hair was just shy of touching his shoulders and he had a five o’clock shadow. A black T-shirt covered his broad chest and faded, relaxed fitting jeans contradicted his rigid stance. A scar across his cheekbone, and a thin one slashing his eyebrow, added to his don’t mess with me look.
“I’m Ethan Ryder with the
Marshals.” The man flashed a badge, then slipped
it back in his pants’ pocket. U.S.
If the mob had hunted down her dad, who was to say it hadn’t been through a U.S. Marshal snitch? He’d trusted Roy Howard, not Ethan Ryder. Maybe he wasn’t even with the
Marshals. Rather coincidental that he showed up
right after a robbery. U.S.
“I assume you’re Olivia Doyle?”
At the back of her mind she heard her dad’s voice. Don’t trust him, Livvy. Be leery of people you know and certainly don’t trust someone you don’t know.
* * *
Eliza will be awarding a one $20 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificates to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate, winner's choice, to four (4) randomly drawn commenters during the tour. A $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate, winner's choice, will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.
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Identity Crisis is available at